Miracle is a word often used around Easter and in the spring when the earth erupts with new life and beauty. It’s also a word that could describe Karen’s life.
Karen was offered her first drink of alcohol at the age of 4 by her parents. When they hosted big parties for her father’s co-workers, they saw nothing wrong with including Karen and her brother in the festivities. At the age of 12, Karen’s mom decided to move with her children to Washington. But since most family members were addicts, the situation didn’t really improve.
Karen couldn’t stop drinking during high school and was finally kicked out her senior year. She had several run-ins with the law over the next decade. They included multiple DUIs, serious car accidents in which she was at fault, drug arrests and more. She spent several years in prison.
Finally, at the age of 30 after being released, Karen sought treatment to get over her addictions. It took several tries, but she eventually found success in the Milestones program after moving to Corvallis in 2006. That’s when she discovered God wanted to work a miracle in her life.
Karen describes taking a walk to get some ice cream when she saw a liquor store along the way. As she passed by, she told God she just couldn’t do “the addiction thing” anymore – she really wanted to stay sober. She said at that moment God delivered her from her addictions and now, she’s been sober for the past nine years.
Life’s still not been easy. Multiple health issues including bad knees and a sore back cause constant pain. She hasn’t been able to find steady work. But with the support she gets at local Alcohol Anonymous meetings and a number of friends and even strangers in the community who can relate as recovering addicts themselves, she’s making it. She’s got a home to live in, a car and is an active AA volunteer trying to help other people overcome their addictions.
Karen received help from Love INC shortly after arriving in Corvallis. She was given a bed, some appliances and a feeling of worth she desperately needed. “I found at Love INC a group of complete strangers who actually cared about me,” she said.
Her advice to people struggling the way she has in the past? Don’t give up. Be honest with yourself and admit you have a problem. Then get involved and go to the AA meetings, she said. “Look for the key people in your life who might be angels ready to help you.”
Karen also believes in prayer. “I don’t ask why I had to go through all I went through, but I do believe in God,” she said. “Miracles keep working if you have faith.”
The Love INC staff agrees, having watched Karen turn her life around. “We have come to love and appreciate her perseverance, courage and humor over the years.”